?

Log in

I've got pie but I'm not a pion
 
[Most Recent Entries] [Calendar View] [Friends]

Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Celestial Weasel's LiveJournal:

[ << Previous 20 ]
Sunday, July 3rd, 2016
1:02 pm
Copenhagen (2014)
You may recall me mentioning this film:

"Some Googling to find the actors ages finds that one is in a film presented at the Sundance festival called Copenhagen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_(2014_film) in which 28 year old American bloke falls in love with Danish girl and discovers she's only 14. Which seems to me likely to not quite work as the woman playing her was presumably about 19 when it was filmed and to me looks about 19 in the clips on YouTube. She appears to not quite be Manic Pixie Dream Girl. I am not entirely sure that I buy into the concept or that it is a terribly coherent one anyway, but notwithstanding that I suspect dream girls in Denmark may never get manic."

My curiosity was piqued as to whether it was going to be as daft as it sounded...

It wasn't on LoveFilm by Post, presumably because there isn't actually an English language release, despite it being (mostly) in English, so I got a German DVD of it, which of course has the original sound track. In fact someone has, tsk tsk, put the whole film on YouTube. Unfortunately this means that the bits where they speak Danish have on-screen German subtitles (it doesn't have subtitles for the film in English or German as far as I can see). Or rather for the first half the bits in Danish have on-screen German subtitles and then the obviously got bored and stopped. Possibly on the German sound-track they are just dubbed into German - the ones in the first half it's relevant to the plot that some of the conversation is in Danish and tiresome-frat-boy can't understand, the ones in the second half are just manic-pixie-dream-girl talking to her family so why not just have them dubbed into German, I suppose.

It was everything I expected and more. As with my comment about Deutschland-83 about them thinking 'well, we want to do a cold war plot that only works in 1983 and an AIDS plot that doesn't really make sense until 1987-8 but fuck it let's do it anyway', I think they must have thought 'well, we've got this idea about a 28 year old tiresome-frat-boy meeting a manic-pixie-dream-girl and finding out she's 14 but actually that would just look creepy so let's have a 19 year old actress who looks 19 and whose character acts like she's 19 - within the constraint that no-one really acts like manic-pixie-dream-girls though we have a barely-plausible 'oh well, she didn't know her real dad so helping irksome-frat-boy find his grand-dad resonates with her somehow so somehow she can drop everything and spend two or three days cycling round picturesque bits of Copenhagen and doing manic-pixie-dream-girl stuff' - and yet say she's 14 and then the irksome-frat-boy can be petulant for a bit when he finds this out and then after about half a scene go back to relating to her as though she's 19 which of course she is really.'

Also the plot is that it turns out that he granddad was a Nazi / Nazi collaborator. But, folks, for this to work he's going to be at least in his mid to late 80s and yet of course the confrontation scene wouldn't work if he goes to meet feeble old dude (not that all people in their late 80s are feeble) so let's have a healthy looking bloke who looks like he's in his early 70s.

Hmm.
Wednesday, June 8th, 2016
11:25 pm
Pouty Bisexual Danish Energy Vampires (in my Joy Division oven gloves)
As you know, professor, Channel 4 have bought the rights to various TV series from round the world and subtitled them and shoved them up on E4. Some they have shown on TV e g Deutschland 83 which I have mentioned before.
As you also know, professor, I dislike almost everything on TV (and books and...). I am not proud of this, it is just a fact of life. However I have liked various of these series. I particularly like Heartless
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/heartless an 8 part Danish drama, although it is deeply silly.
Does your teenage son / daughter look like they're in their mid 20s? Are they good looking and exceptionally pouty? Then why not send them to our gothic expensive private school in the middle of nowhere without much sign of many teachers or many staff - main extra-curricular activities being weird rituals and fencing in the crypt?
Ancient curses / witches / energy vampires / plot holes / flashbacks to the medieval history of the gothic manor house that became the school / creepy aging hippies, it has them all.
As I snark above, many of the actors playing high-school students are in their 20s, quite late 20s in some cases. Obviously Denmark doesn't have the equivalent of Grange Hill to provide actors to play high-school students who are high-school age. Also possibly there is too much shagging for that to be acceptable.

Some Googling to find the actors ages finds that one is in a film presented at the Sundance festival called Copenhagen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_(2014_film) in which 28 year old American bloke falls in love with Danish girl and discovers she's only 14. Which seems to me likely to not quite work as the woman playing her was presumably about 19 when it was filmed and to me looks about 19 in the clips on YouTube. She appears to not quite be Manic Pixie Dream Girl. I am not entirely sure that I buy into the concept or that it is a terribly coherent one anyway, but notwithstanding that I suspect dream girls in Denmark may never get manic.

Another of the better series is Cenk Batu, a German police drama (apparently most German police dramas are all linked together in a meta-series) in which a tall striking cop of Turkish heritage repeatedly goes undercover in the underworld of Hamburg whilst making absolutely no attempt to disguise himself or wear different clothes and despite having a couple of undercover assignments per episode somehow his photo isn't up on the cork noticeboard in the HQ of every criminal undertaking in Hamburg. There weren't many episodes though, which makes it slightly less ludicrous http://www.channel4.com/programmes/cenk-batu

For those who didn't watch it I do recommend Deutschland 83, although the ending was rather silly - as I said before they have clearly learnt a lot from British TV in terms of uneven tone and pacing and plots that don't quite make sense. And there is definitely kudos to them for thinking - well we'd like to marry an AIDS plot which would work in about 1988 with the 1983 Cold War exercises, but obviously that doesn't make sense, but never mind, LET'S DO IT ANYWAY!
Thursday, January 28th, 2016
10:28 pm
"Send me up a drink" says Major Tom
1. Adverts for USA Today
1983 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svnaEFbt3f8
Slightly later with minor celebrities singing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3LiURnoFzk (subscribe and get a free tote bag).
I was in the US when USA Today came out (think I did find a copy at some point whilst I was there though they weren't printing it everywhere). A product of its time - technology advanced enough for them to print a colour newspaper all over the country but not for everyone to get their news on glowing things in their pockets. It is an odd paper - and not, I think, without a certain knowingness with respect to the faint absurdity of 'here is a fairly thin newspaper covering a country with 300 plus million people occupying a large chunk of a continent', particularly in the bit which is 'one one sentence news story for each state'. The second commercial above is far wittier than American commercials of the time generally were - the level of wit increased significantly when dot COMs began to piss their money up the wall in the late 90s.

2. Bowie
(as commented on cleanskies LJ but I'm pasting it here, so there)
I cannot help but notice the artifice around major new stories including celebrity deaths - Mark had mentioned that 6 Music had played a few jingles and songs at 7 o'clock - I went back on the iPlayer and listened, and indeed so, but interestingly 5 Live was reporting it as fact at about 6:55 - did 6 Music feel it needed a higher standard of proof than 5 Live given its audience or were they all just trying to get their shit together enough to carry on?
I wouldn't necessarily have expected Bowie to be a Level 2 event, though in retrospect I can't really dispute it.
My favourite Bowie track is Young Americans, I get the impression this is quite an unusual choice. On which note I bring you the 100% genuine Lennon and Bowie version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PhW6x82v7U

3. Deutschland 83
Credits here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9L_PlDsa_BI (the theme is the song Major Tom by Peter Schilling - English version (on the subtitled version shown on Channel 4 anyway) - here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTseSi0Qgow )
As you know professor, I am rarely grabbed by books / TV, but I am quite grabbed by this whereas for example, the BBC4 subtitled dramas haven't really - I watched about 4 episodes of Borgen whilst Nellie was on her way out, but without an expiring greyhound I felt no need to see any more episodes or to find out how it finished. This however I am enjoying; it is a cold war drama, with a somewhat gormless young man (German dramas do seem to like their young gormless male heroes) blackmailed by his aunt into going to West Germany to be a spy. The production values (dodgy set dressing / costumes / hairstyles and other anachronisms (*)) and wildly uneven tone (black comedy and viciousness) suggest they have learnt more from British TV than American.
Also, for fans of Ostalgie, the whole of the film Sonnenallee appears to be on YouTube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGO9ef-wTMI - it is very much a slice of life film in which nothing terribly dramatic happens. It is much less of a jokey fantasy than Goodbye, Lenin, not that I didn't enjoy that - a not funny story about Sonnenallee: I could only find a DVD without subtitles. I found a subtitles file on the internet but after downloading a number of bits of software with such incoherent descriptions I couldn't work out whether or not they were supposed to be able to marry subtitles with video and then finding that either they weren't intended to do that or I couldn't get them to work I gave up and wrote a program to display them in a large font, with start and stop options to keep it in sync with the video, then we watched it with a laptop under the TV to provide subtitles.
I am always struck by how East Germany in the 70s / 80s or depictions there of anyway remind me so much of Britain at the same period.

(*) I'm not misremembering am I, 1983 is at least 2 years too early for a mum to be saying to her daughter, 'be careful, use a condom, I've heard about this disease'?

4. Endeavour
They're just not going to try to make the Morse of Endeavour converge with the one of Morse are they? Probably a good thing too.
I only hope that ITV are fully aware of the severe penalties of encouraging cross-over fanfic. 'Sergeant Vimes of Cable Street', indeed.
Saturday, December 12th, 2015
4:58 pm
Best Endeavours
I have discovered, through the medium of YouTube, that the Channel 4 News theme is a bit of library music called Best Endeavours https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFeSUmrdCHk by Alan Hawkshaw. If there were a theme that I thought was lovingly written for the particular programme it would be that.
He also wrote the theme used for both Grange Hill and Give Us A Clue which is bizarrely called 'Chicken Man' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpKH7rUQ2rY
Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
11:13 pm
So farewell then, Lewis
"In the kingdom of the blind
It’s said the one-eyed man is king
And in the kingdom of the bland
It’s nine o’clock on ITV" - HMHB - http://www.chrisrand.com/hmhb/achtung-bono-2005/corgi-registered-friends/

As Duckworth and Lewis walk off hand in hand into the sunset, we pause to wonder what ITV will replace it with. As I have said before, I find it impossible to believe that any British detective novelist can avoid having less than one eye on their novel(s) being turned into a long running TV franchise.
The peak of ludicrous crime shows was of course Van Der Valk, where British actors wandered round Amsterdam calling each other things like 'Wim', and plots were taken from the big pile of detective plots without reference to cultural differences.
I like to think of the Van Der Valk theme having the lyrics

"Weekdays at nine, so it's time for a ludicrous crime, ludicrous crime squad on ITV.
Weekdays at nine so it's time for a stupid crime, stupid crimes, ITV."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9i0bfyJTFI

I sort of assume that in the pre-ITV plc days, you couldn't do a detective drama outside your region - which meant unless you were TVS doing Cats-Eye (ugh) or STV doing Taggart you wouldn't get one outside the areas of the big 4. Now presumably there could be one set in Bristol or points West or South-West. Nonetheless, Oxford is more scenic so they could do worse than buy my college contemporary Victoria Blake's novels and characters https://victoriablakewriter.wordpress.com/category/crime-novels/ - they have the benefit of being set in Oxford AND West London, and Sam Falconer has an adequate amount of 'oh noes teh backstory' to function as an ITV detective drama.

Meanwhile, the synthesiser long-form version of the original Channel 4 Theme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWAK6IIERKA

As you know, professor, this was written by Lord David Dundas. If he doesn't have an answerphone where someone sings, to the tune of the Channel 4 jingle

'David Dundas - he is sorry he's not home
David Dundas - leave your message after tone'

I want to know why. I know I would.

He also wrote the ITV jingle - marvel at this long form version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5zM8mkltI0 (presumably aimed at ad-agencies and advertisers, at least initially
Sunday, October 4th, 2015
10:15 pm
C2
Now that one can download programmes on the iPlayer I commend to you Huw Stephens's BBC Introducing programme on BBC Radio Cymru. It can be sometimes slightly hard to track down, or maybe I am doing something wrong, but at the moment they seem to be calling it C2 - if you search for Huw Stephens it doesn't appear. The evening music shows appear to be called C2 every day (twice on Friday). Huw Stephens is on on Mondays from 7 p.m.
Lots of Welsh indie / electronica plus the other stuff he likes. With the added bonus that the talking and news is in Welsh so I and I expect most of you won't understand it.
9:05 pm
Belated Weasel Trip Notes
1. Aylesbury Vale Parkway - Harrow-on-the-Hill
2. Harrow-on-the-Hill - Moor Park
3. Moor Park - Watford (Met.)
4. Bus from in the vicinty of Watford (Met.) to Watford Junction
5. Watford Junction - Willsden Junction (post apocalyptic waste land)
6. Willesden Junction - West Hampstead
7 West Hampstead - Blackfriars
8 Blackfriars pier - Putney
9 Walked from Putney to Imperial Wharf
10 Imperial Wharf - Willesden Junction
11 Willesden Junction - Marylebone
12 Marylebone - Aylesbury Vale Parkway

Trip notes:
I had a number of ideas that I failed to work up enthusiasm for, not least because any wacky point-to-point-to-point-to-point things outside the TfL area would require buying multiple single tickets which I wasn't in the mood for. The centre piece of the trip was intended to be the Southern train from Watford Junction to Croydon - jewels of the London exurbs. However...
The first thing that went wrong was that on the way to Aylesbury Vale Parkway I stopped for diesel at a garage with an adjacent Burger King and thought 'I should have time for a mediocre coffee and a beanburger'. Unfortunately I got lost on the way on the cunning back route and missed the train, so to fill up the hour I went to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre and zipped round it in half an hour.
The reasoning behind getting off at Moor Park was to check in with my Oyster card having used my return ticket to get to Harrow-on-the-Hill. This possibly could be avoided but I'm not sure how. This meant sitting on Moor Park station for a bit under 20 minutes. The station is an island station on a fairly straight line, it reminded me somehow of bits of the S-Bahns of various German cities.
A part of the line to Watford Met is, of course, going to be shut when the major infrastructure problem to link bits of Watford with other bits of Watford not very far away in only 40 or so years https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/improvements-and-projects/metropolitan-line-extension (now due to open in 2020 apparently - sure it was about 2017 last time I looked). Because this is outside the TfL area the bus details are non-existent. I started to walk to Watford Junction then found another bus stop and waited to get a bus in order to get the hourly Southern train to Croydon. Irksomely having got to Watford Junction and bought a ticket to take me back into TfL land, a notice came up saying the hourly train was cancelled due to a defect.
Therefore I had a replan and decided I would take advantage of the relative lateness of the hour to go on the riverboat RB6 which runs peak hour only.

Other notes:
1. The new Blackfriars station, where the platform bridges the Thames is very impressive.
2. The riverboat was full of mothers taking fractious children back to the East having had summer holiday days out. Not that I mind this, but it might have been a bit more relaxing otherwise.
3. Blimey, what a lot of new flats there are at the side of the Thames - I had no idea of the sheer scale of the building.
4. Irksomely there are two lots of signs for the path along the Thames - 'Riverside walk' and 'Thames path'. They are rendered somewhat out of date by the new building. How hard would it be to get someone to cycle the length every month, find discrepancies and do something. Actually quite hard, I imagine.
Sunday, September 27th, 2015
10:02 pm
Back!
We are back.
I hope nothing bizarre has happened whilst we were away e.g.
a) Jeremy Corbyn being elected leader of the Labour Party
b) a book being published suggesting that the PM stuck his dick in the head of a dead pig in public and that someone may have a photo of this
Sunday, August 30th, 2015
9:20 pm
Me old China
The BBC, which is quite capable of doing bad versions of easy to film SF / Fantasy, is going to attempt a difficult to film one
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2015/the-city-and-the-city

What could possibly go wrong?

When I partially saw the headline I assumed they were going to do Un Lun Dun or Kraken. I can believe they could do Un Lun Dun - surprised no-one has done it really. I can't imagine they would do Kraken well - though I suppose it has the chaotic everything but the kitchen sink mess aspect to it that the BBC has made its own with Dr. Who.
Thursday, August 13th, 2015
11:13 pm
Take the utraviolet pill
The question that springs to my mind is is there a decent contemporary book about cybersecurity?. What are the real threat models these days that one might plausibly defend against? Clearly we have to distinguish between state and non-state actors - with state actors one is probably pretty screwed - and the question arises of what can they really do? Not that I believe they have quantum computers hidden away somewhere - not that you can necessarily do with them what wilder hype / folk-wisdom suggests.

What I was musing about was whether one make a reasonably secure, whatever that may mean these days, 'PC' - for some value of 'PC'?
I say 'PC' in quotes obviously.
Things like http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/11/memory_hole_roots_intel_processors/ (fun with Ring -2)
and http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/12/lenovo_firmware_nasty/ (weird PC boot up tricks, in conjunction with Windows)
makes me think one would rule out Intel processors and the 'PC' architecture.
What about ARM and, say, the Raspberry Pi? Are we put off by the binary GPU blob in the processor?
Which is the most transparent processor? Is there anything one can 'program' oneself into an FPGA? Can one trust the tool chain?
I was struck how few processors there are left - are there any used in any mainstream computers apart from Intel / AMD x86/x64, the dying Itanium, ARM and SPARC?

Obviously, one has to consider the O.S. Somehow I knew long ago that GNU TLS was written by people who didn't really know what they were doing due to Stallmanite butthurt http://www.zdnet.com/article/another-serious-gnutls-bug-exposes-linux-clients-to-server-attacks/ (never have done stuff with that level of code, but it was something I had come across - someone working on one of the BSDs saying it presumably). So, on the whole I think I would prefer a BSD variant. Not that I am an open source bigot / fan, but clearly one would trust Microsoft / Apple / Google as far as one could spit them.

Suppose one wanted to observe the constraint that 'only the CPU is a CPU - no sneaky CPUs in the keyboard / mouse / disk / graphics card (monitor allowed providing it is 'properly isolated' (whatever that means)(probably)(or maybe a CRT), is this feasible these days?
Remember, your SD card may have a CPU http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?p=3554

Remember weasel's 3 laws of computing:
1. You can't trust computers
2. Everything is a computer
3. Run!!!!!

A bit terse and stream of consciousness but I can see this turning into a 200 page rant (197 of them footnotes) otherwise.
Monday, August 10th, 2015
11:01 pm
The Sontaran Experiment
An exchange of email between me and pmcray (whom God preserve, of Utrecht) also trading as atomicrazorfeed.

The subject of 'The Splorch' had already come up via JWZ's blog http://www.jwz.org/blog/2015/08/ovipositive-2/ (not so much NSFW as the kind of thing that might be considered 'deeply disturbing'')

PMCray:
I should have said I discovered today that the person who plays Strax (and other Sontarans) in DW did Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Cambridge, which is the coolest degree there is, an undergraduate degree in Tolkien studies! I must try and persuade my one of brother's children do that (they speak Swedish, possibly some Hungarian).

Of course, playing Sontarans might be considered a somewhat niche metier.

Weasel: (quoting from Wikipedia and the play's website)
He played the enraged loner Simon in Muswell Hill by Torben Betts at Richmond's Orange Tree Theatre (Feb/March 2012) and was nominated as Best Male Performance at the 2012 Off West End Theatre Awards (Offies).

"Enranged loner"

Muswell Hill
January 2010 - an earthquake in Haiti leaves a hundred thousand people dead and almost two million homeless. Meanwhile in a leafy north London suburb, six individuals sit down to avocado and prawns - "so reassuringly 1970s" - followed by a monkfish stew. They admire their host's beautifully appointed kitchen, fret about their "ambitious" mortgages, make holiday plans, compare mobile phone tariffs, connect with Facebook friends, and worry that they might after all just be ordinary - will history remember any of them, and if so, what for? A social event in which much is said but little communicated rapidly disintegrates as the wine flows and some hard truths are told.

PMCray:
I imagine a person who has made a career playing Sontarans is likely to have much to bring to that kind of role.

Weasel:
He should play it in Sontaran costume, but he and the rest of the cast should make absolutely no reference to it

PMCray:
I think they should also find a way of introducing the use of the splorch.

But, yes, monkfish is absolutely perfect as the kind of thing that wouuld be served at a dinner party of that type.

Weasel:
Clearly we need to write a play. Working title 'pardon my splorch'

PMCray:
Well, it's something else for Mary, Tyler and Mooroe, the PVCs, to engage in. But, yes, I think we can see now how this would writre itself. MTM host a dinner party. No monkfish, natch, but perhaps Soylent 2.0. Their friend turns up as a Sontaran (but no-one comments on this so we never know whether he is a Sontaran or someone who is Otherkin or is cosplaying either as a hobby or lifestyle) and then decides to splorch himself in the middle of the meal leading to comic complications.

I think there needs to be a fifth character that contrasts with MTM and the Sontaran. Suggestions open, but it would be a woman to balance things up in a gender-binary way.

Weasel:
The simulated splorching will be a cause celebre, it will be The Romans In Britain for the 2010s

PMCray:
Simulated?

Think of live splorching on the stage of the Dorfman. Radical, transgressive theatre that would shake the foundations of bourgeois Britain.
10:49 pm
The Sontaran Experiment
An exchange of email between me and pmcray (whom God preserve, of Utrecht) also trading as atomicrazorfeed.

The subject of 'The Splorch' had already come up via JWZ's blog http://www.jwz.org/blog/2015/08/ovipositive-2/ (not so much NSFW as the kind of thing that might be considered 'deeply disturbing'')

PMCray:
I should have said I discovered today that the person who plays Strax (and other Sontarans) in DW did Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Cambridge, which is the coolest degree there is, an undergraduate degree in Tolkien studies! I must try and persuade my one of brother's children do that (they speak Swedish, possibly some Hungarian).

Of course, playing Sontarans might be considered a somewhat niche metier.

Weasel: (quoting from Wikipedia and the play's website)
He played the enraged loner Simon in Muswell Hill by Torben Betts at Richmond's Orange Tree Theatre (Feb/March 2012) and was nominated as Best Male Performance at the 2012 Off West End Theatre Awards (Offies).

"Enranged loner"

Muswell Hill
January 2010 - an earthquake in Haiti leaves a hundred thousand people dead and almost two million homeless. Meanwhile in a leafy north London suburb, six individuals sit down to avocado and prawns - "so reassuringly 1970s" - followed by a monkfish stew. They admire their host's beautifully appointed kitchen, fret about their "ambitious" mortgages, make holiday plans, compare mobile phone tariffs, connect with Facebook friends, and worry that they might after all just be ordinary - will history remember any of them, and if so, what for? A social event in which much is said but little communicated rapidly disintegrates as the wine flows and some hard truths are told.

PMCray:
I imagine a person who has made a career playing Sontarans is likely to have much to bring to that kind of role.

Weasel:
He should play it in Sontaran costume, but he and the rest of the cast should make absolutely no reference to it

PMCray:
I think they should also find a way of introducing the use of the splorch.

But, yes, monkfish is absolutely perfect as the kind of thing that wouuld be served at a dinner party of that type.

Weasel:
Clearly we need to write a play. Working title 'pardon my splorch'

PMCray:
Well, it's something else for Mary, Tyler and Mooroe, the PVCs, to engage in. But, yes, I think we can see now how this would writre itself. MTM host a dinner party. No monkfish, natch, but perhaps Soylent 2.0. Their friend turns up as a Sontaran (but no-one comments on this so we never know whether he is a Sontaran or someone who is Otherkin or is cosplaying either as a hobby or lifestyle) and then decides to splorch himself in the middle of the meal leading to comic complications.

I think there needs to be a fifth character that contrasts with MTM and the Sontaran. Suggestions open, but it would be a woman to balance things up in a gender-binary way.

Weasel:
The simulated splorching will be a cause celebre, it will be The Romans In Britain for the 2010s

PMCray:
Simulated?

Think of live splorching on the stage of the Dorfman. Radical, transgressive theatre that would shake the foundations of bourgeois Britain.
Saturday, May 9th, 2015
8:46 pm
The people of Abingdon didn't vote for fear
Or more accurately, Fear, who came 5th in his ward and so wasn't elected. The town council is now 10 Tory, 8 Lib-Dems, 1 Independent (left Lib-Dems over behaviour in government).
So the red dog-poo bins will be conntracted out by Tories, like the green dog-poo bins.

In other news
a) Some of you may not be aware of 'comment is weird' http://commentisweird.tumblr.com/
b) At long last, Ronnie Hazlehurst's requiem has surfaced on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13c4eJZtWiY
c) Too soon? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVwdKfLOa5o
Friday, May 8th, 2015
11:19 pm
Did you have pants on for Balls?
So, things are getting, er, tetchy on Facebook amongst my friends there from the running club (the main factions are 'The NHS will fall to bits' vs 'The NHS would have fallen to bits anyway', I simplify slightly). Meanwhile here I am on the only true social network. I have other things to do but I have a habit of thinking 'I have thing x to do so I won't do y' and then not doing x, so here I am, anyway.
8 LibDem MPs. Well, between 1951 and 1970 there were 6 Liberal MPs apart from a couple of blips with slightly more -for example in 1970 there were two in Devon and Cornwall and 4 in Scotland. Someone claims that now is the first time since 1679 with no Liberal / Lib-Dem / Whig MP in the West country. Will people have the appetite for going back to that size of party, back to the old days of the 'they can meet in a taxi', albeit one of those large minibus taxis? Will people think there is any point? Now of course we test the 'the Lib-Dems were ameliorating the Tories' hypothesis to destruction.
Obviously there are local councillors, we have 1 Tory, 1 Lib-Dem district councillor here - essentially I assume people vote for 1 Lib-Dem and then 1 Labour or 1 Green for the 2 seats (the Lib-Dem was 13 votes ahead of the 2nd Tory) - with the town council counted tomorrow. Before the last election before this one the town council was all Lib-Dem, then last time it was 10 Tory, 9 Lib-Dem and 1 Labour, but it ended up back under Lib-Dem control after by-elections, defections etc. The district council is now 29 Tory, 9 Lib-Dem.. It was Tory anyway, though.
Have I mentioned before that the town council and district council both run dog poo bins, red for the town council, green for the district.
Anyway, yesterday I did two hours of telling for the Lib-Dems, obviously in OW&A there are only Tory and Lib-Dem tellers. Previously I have typed the numbers in, but maybe they don't need that any more. A young man with stretched ear lobes (gauged? what's the term?) and young person style low slung jeans cycled up, took photos of the sheet of numbers then cycled off. Maybe they are OCRd, maybe the are outsourced to India. Probably not. I was surprised, but probably shouldn't have been, how many people I knew I saw - 2 voting, one for the pre-school group displaced from the hall by the election onto the nearby grass as a 'teddy-bears' picnic', one voting and for the pre-school group, and one for Slimming World in the other hall. Apart from this there were also 2 trips to Oxford to take Benny to the vet to have an op to deal with the hole he had managed to get in his foot by standing on something and to get him back and a meeting at work.

Meanwhile, the Green Party. The only party, I suspect, to have policy on Sussex Stoolball (CMS880 http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/culture,-media-and-sports.html ). I was amused by the butthurt at peopl e pointing out the policy on their website about copyright (14 years), but I kind of know how it got there - there is a long document called 'Manifesto for a Sustainable Society' which gets gradually revised over the years by working parties i.e. obsessives and cranks (*). I think it was originally based on something in The Ecologist years ago. The Ecologist famously being the magazine that had the lead article on 'why vibrators are teh evil' for approximately the reasons you would guess, fast food sex, consumer society, petrochemicals, better to use artisinal glass dildos blah blah http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/other_comments/268921/love_batteries_not_included.html
The problem is of course that if you are The Green Party you have to have policies which simultaneously reflect what you could do with a few local councillors, what you could do as part of a ruling coalition on a local council, what you might do with one or two MPs in a hung parliament, what you would do if Britain had gone for green-ness in a single country and what you could do in the glorious day of a transformed world. Inevitable therfore, the policies are bound to look a bit odd. This does not mean I wasn't amused, particularly at the irony of  people taking the sort of views of policies 'if you don't like it fix it' that they would decry when people say it of open source software.

(*) As I'm sure I have said before, I went to the party conference once many decades ago, for want of a better break-out group to go to I went to the one on newspapers. The bloke charing it began with 'first of all - should there be newspapers?'. That one may have solved itself of course.
Saturday, March 14th, 2015
12:47 pm
Albatross of leaden metaphor news
I am surprised more has not been made of this
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/2015/newsspec_7937/content/english/index.html?v=0.2.27

The most microchipped dog by council area (county / unitary authority?). Obviously this is
a) someone's press release to get publicity
b) subject to the number of dogs microchipped
c) first dog past the post
d) subject to anomalies i.e. it is believed that greyhounds being number 1 in Halifax is due to there being a large greyhound and lurcher rescue place there.

But as a metaphor 'Labrador Britain' vs 'Staffie Britain' takes some beating (plus greyhounds as above, Border Collies in, er, the border and Jack Russells in the Celtic fringe)
Friday, March 13th, 2015
11:16 pm
Misc
Funnily enough I had mentioned Terry Pratchett yesterday before the news of his death - I quoted Ansible on the subject of the BBC to Dr Cray (whom God preserve) and someone else  http://news.ansible.uk/a264.html

'Something for the Very Strange department; the BBC contacted us about doing a prime time series based on the Guards books. Things seemed to go well, although it appeared to me that up to that point only one person involved had read a Discworld book. Then we gradually moved into Fairy Land.... What caused me to crack was the question of the Bible. I am not going to let something like this happen without some input, if only to stop Nobby Nobbs becoming female. Much discussion ensued, and my movie agent suggested that the BBC and us create the Guards Bible – these style guides are quite common in the business. / It looked, therefore, like it would be all systems go until the BBC came back and said that while they would be happy to collaborate on the Bible, they would because of their charter have to have the final say, which means in effect: "everything will be set in stone, but we are allowed to have a sledgehammer." So the BBC is not getting Guards! Guards!. As my movie agent (who has dealt with some of the most voracious companies in the States) said to me, "How does anyone ever deal with the BBC?"'

This was in the context of the BBC's new 'Not a Rasberry Pi, not an Arduino' project the Micro Bits
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31834927
I am amused that the BBC story describes this as giving children 'mini-computers'. PDP-11's all round, hic. Or maybe the plan IS to give every year 7 child a PDP-11/70.
Clearly this is very much an 'announcement' in the sense that nothing firm has been announced, ARM has more detail about it here
http://community.arm.com/groups/internet-of-things/blog/2015/03/12/arm-and-the-bbc-collaborate-on-a-new-initiative
I have to say that I cannot really see either that the ability to make 25 LEDs flash on and off from a Python / C++ program will excite / inspire children. But then I am not a parent, a child or an educator.

I picked up the 2 early Pratchett SF novels before her was famous, they are amongst his best stuff. I have to say I sort of got bored with Discworld at about Pyramids though I think I have read Small Gods and one other maybe. Good Omens was certainly better than anything else by Pratchett or Gaiman, a true classic.

Meanwhile, did you know you can play Snake on the Kings Cross fountains? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hZgaV35D3M
Tuesday, March 10th, 2015
9:35 pm
Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
9:29 pm
The East is red

http://asiasociety.org/blog/asia/watch-deeply-deeply-patriotic-song-featuring-chinas-president-debuts-during-new-year-gala

"..The annual event, which organizers claim reaches 90 percent of Chinese families and more than 700 million viewers, is a collection of performances and skits that are tightly choreographed and vetted by the Communist Party. Toward the end of this year’s broadcast on February 18, singers Mo Hualun and Lu Wei joined a university choir to sing a new song entitled “Give My Heart to You” in an effusively patriotic tone that’s long been typical of the gala. Less typical, however, is what happened a minute into the performance when a waving Chinese flag in the background video gave way to triumphant imagery of the president.

The remainder of the performance is devoted exclusively to video of Xi that includes him meeting ecstatic youth, glad-handing with rural residents, and eating with soldiers in a frigidly cold outpost. While similar flattering imagery of top leaders has long been a mainstay of CCTV news broadcasts, it's rare that this imagery is brought together in such a musical montage at a high-profile event like the New Year's gala. The song itself appears directed at the Chinese “motherland” as a whole, though the way Xi is presented center stage leaves it ambiguous who exactly the source of love is and who it is directed at."

If you get CCTV-9 (the English CCTV channel) the 'spring festival' gala tends to be the headline - CCTV is as fond of bigging itself up as the BBC

Friday, February 13th, 2015
11:41 pm
Monday, February 9th, 2015
11:12 pm
Paper moon
As is often the case with these polls, when one sees the results one thinks of more questions. Mr zengineer may be disappointed that I don't have a profound point. I was just surprised that, once again, people at work looked at me as though I were mad when I said something about A[n] paper sizes.
So, anyway...
a) As presumably 5 of you know, the area of an A0 sheet of paper is a square metre. Size(A(n+1)) = 1/2 Size(A(n)). Therefore the size of an A4 sheet of paper is 1/16 of a square metre.
b) As mentioned in comments, the A series of paper sizes has the property that each size is got by halving the previous size along its long size. Therefore the ratio of the long side to the short side is sqrt(2) to 1.
c) Putting these facts together (viz the ratio and the fact that a sheet of A0 paper is a square metre) yields the sides of a sheet of A0 paper being 2^1/4 metres by 2^-1/4 metres (i.e. the square root of the square root of 2). Dividing these by 4 yields the size of an A4 sheet of paper.
[ << Previous 20 ]
About LiveJournal.com